Imagine you’re checking out the website of a “specialty ice catering company.” Your thoughts approaching the site are the usual: What the heck is this and why should I care?
You read one of the following opening lines:
- The Art of Ice is the leading purveyor of customized domestic-use ice products which help you to optimize your event experience…
- Having a party? Imagine your guests sipping fancy drinks out of tall glasses with ice cubes shaped like little _____s? The Art of Ice invites you to take your hosting game up a notch or three… Anything you can imagine we can sculpt, deliver, and set up for your big event.
Which one is more likely to pique your interest – and why is it so clearly the second?
The first example is web “content.” It’s a comprehensive synopsis. Everyone will agree it’s quite professional. The second is web “copy” – informal, purposeful, and representing a new way of looking at websites as a source of direct sales online.
Copy is better. It seeks to address, even anticipate, audience interests and needs. Copy shows you care.
This kind of caring matters these days. According to Demand Metric.com, 82% of consumers feel more positive about a company after reading custom content. And 70% of consumers feel closer to a company as a result of content marketing. Presumably, if you don’t act like a stiff.
This kind of effective content is as old as magazine ads in the ‘60s and ‘70s, selling a Volkswagen Beetle with the unexpected caption “And if you run out of gas, it’s easy to push.”
It’s old school Mad Men copy, lively and bright, presented not just to inform, but to “pull.” To stick in the mind as a bit different, to change a mindset or behavior. To grab somebody’s attention and hold it until they’ve bought you.
Odd that this kind of relatable, sales-y approach seems so new again. But many of us – small businesses especially – are waking up from the dawn of the mid-90s, when websites were regarded as “the great equalizer.” A brief, bygone era where you could be as big as you wanted to seem to be.
And so, through Web 1.0 and 2.0, companies puffed themselves up. So big these companies may now project as impersonal, undifferentiated, and low value – missing prospects at all the sales moments that matter.
Which is why we may come across a gem like “… the leading purveyor of customized domestic-use ice products…”
But your company probably has more personality than that. And a truer connection to make with your customers and audiences.
Marshall McLuhan was a 20th-century philosopher and media studies theorist with a lot of interesting things to say about how we communicate from one type of communications technology to the next. He said, “the medium is the message.” This could imply a website should be written as a website.
Marshall McLuhan gives us all a whole lot to think about if anybody would ever think to find the time for it.
Maybe we should look to Marshall Mathers (Eminem) instead:
You only get one shot, do NOT miss your chance…
But… how do we know what to say, exactly? Where does this good sales copy in your digital marketing come from?
This answer might come as a surprise. But it’s guaranteed to get a vigorous head nod out of anybody’s who’s done it thoroughly and well…
The right sales copy comes from your Strategy.
Yes, Strategy has a reputation for being a bit dry. NOT. STRATEGY’S. FAULT. Might be some strategists’ fault though…
Strategy is more than planning, deliverables, and timelines. It’s a real sense of who you are and why people care.
Throughout your organization, Strategy delivers confidence. In how you look and what you say. So instead of people commenting that “Everything’s subjective” in a review meeting, you might get some people agreeing, “Yep, that’s exactly what we need to say here…”
Strategy breaks you out of the drab, authoritative, generic, broadcast message mode. Strategy promotes you into a real dialogue with your customers.
Strategy is the output of a deep understanding and development of:
- Your unique value to the market
- Identification of your audiences
- The sweet spot of needs fulfillment between 1 and 2
- Brand understanding – a continuous communications negotiation between what they think you are and what you want to be
- An agreement on how you will present yourself: voice, image, and experience
- A tiered approach of things to talk about with your customers and prospects
So where does Strategy end, and Marketing begin?
According to the book Marketing Management, by Greg W. Marshall and Mark W. Johnston – used as the authoritative text for certification on the subject by the American Marketing Association (AMA) – “marketing” has two complementary components. There is Big M Marketing and little m marketing.
Big M Marketing is strategic and best owned by ownership and leadership, and captured in a Marketing Plan. It’s a deeply engrained understanding of the intersection of what your audiences want and how you intend to offer it – the overlap of which is your business, brand, and value proposition.
Little m marketing is driven by that Marketing Plan. It’s the sum of all specific communications events, properties, materials, ads, and postings. It’s the world and schedule as managed by a Marketing Director to fulfill the Marketing Plan under the sponsorship and oversight of Ownership and the Executive Team. The Director and team of agencies/contractors/internal team members will have an impressive grasp on how the Strategy informs every aspect of their creative and functional work across all media. While keeping on schedule, and reporting back to you on progress. And what’s going to work even better than the last tactic.
The two marketing dimensions are complementary. When you’ve got both going, high and low, your marketing strategy and sales effectiveness is aligned and humming along toward true digital effectiveness. The lines of distinction between what’s Big M and what’s little m marketing will nicely blur and blend.
Even better, so too will the traditional distinction between Marketing and Sales. Because you will really feel that you’re speaking directly to your customers and prospects, across all properties, posts, and interactions. Direct Marketing will be Direct Sales and vice-versa.
Face-to-face Sales will be “Personal Sales,” and all the more customized, detailed, and personable for all the broad-based Sales “air AND ground cover” your Marketing efforts provide.
Being your best, most interesting, and authentic self for your prospects and customers. And out there selling – 24/7. So warm you melt the ice.
We don’t have to be strategic marketing experts to know you want that.
Information Experts can help you do Strategy – not just planning. We can capture your vision and find your sales voice. Or work with what you already have to make it sing and get it out there and heard by your customers and prospects.